A Giraffes Kiss
Poor little Emma was a sickly child and had been since her birth, she been born with a very rare form of Sarcomas cancer. So rare was her condition that as far as any of the medical experts knew she was the only one. Emma was now six and her parents Giles and Tracy Evans were told, she had at best four weeks to live and nothing could change that. Of course they were very sorry and insisted they had tried every known thing to man and none had worked.
Giles was big strong man and had rarely ever been sick in his life, Tracy on the other hand had been a thin sickly child herself. She would often be found crying alone, to her it was all her fault. She’d ignored the advice and drunk alcohol all through her pregnancy, her mum and grandmother had and they were both fine.
Tracy was sure that everyone blamed her even though they all said they didn’t, she was crying now in the kitchen after the latest visit to the hospital. The back door opened and Giles came in he put his huge arm around her shoulders as she sobbed.
“Babe this aint your fault or mine, it’s no ones fault these things happen. We have to be strong for her and don’t forget we still have Bobby to care for.” As soon as he’d said that he regretted it, he knew it was the wrong thing at the wrong time.
“So we just forget about Emma now she’s about to die do we and concentrate on our son. Is that what you are saying Giles is it?” she wailed.
“No, no that’s not what I meant and you know it, all I was saying is that he needs us as well right now.”
Tracy ran up the stairs crying even more, he left alone as over time he’d found it worked better for them both. If he went after her a big row would ensue and that was something best avoided. Giles got a beer from the fridge and sat watching TV his mind full of his little Emma and why her he wondered. He would quite often ask himself that question and wished that he could suck the life out of all the murders and rapist, then give it to innocent children like Emma and others.
His dad came in and watched his son for a moment, ‘what you watching son?’ Giles couldn’t have answered him if his life had depended on it, he rarely took any notice of what he was watching. “Is that Tracy upstairs?” ‘Yeah you got the text then dad.’
His dad gave a short smile and nodded, he came to see his son and his wife was upstairs doing the same for Tracy and he thought a pint might help. The two men walked to the pub and took their drinks outside, the spring day was warm and the birds sang in the trees as they sat in silence. Ten minutes had gone by and neither man had touched a drop of their drink, Giles looked at his dad and the pain he was feeling was written across his face. His dad wished he could swap places with his granddaughter, he would gladly do it if it was possible.
“I’m going to see Emma dad you coming?” he nodded and soon they were driving to the hospital.
“I thought we couldn’t visit until 3pm today?” his dad asked.
“Fuck’em dad I’d like to see someone stop me and if they try it’ll be them that need a hospital bed.” Giles replied angrily.
Bob, Giles’s dad knew what his temper was like besides he agreed with him, the two men arrived at the hospital and marched to the ward. They both expected trouble with the doctors but nothing happened, Giles found himself looking down at his sleeping bundle of joy. For a few minutes they both stood staring at Emma with each man wrapped up in his own thoughts, then she stirred.
“Daddy I had a really good dream,” ‘did you dumpling.’ He replied using his nick name for her.
“Hi granddad, daddy I have to go to Oasis Park zoo and see a Giraffe. She’s going to kiss me and make better daddy, she told me that she really did daddy. Can we go now daddy can we please?” she pleaded.
“Dumpling if I knew where it was then I’d take you’ but I’ve never heard of Oasis park zoo.”
“It’s on an island silly daddy and it has camels you can ride on as well.”
Giles looked at her strangely, how his six year old baby could have such a vivid dream amazed him still he was happy to see her smile, but where the fuck was Oasis park zoo he thought. Bob got out his phone while Giles was talking with Emma and searched for the zoo, he soon found it on Google and returned to Giles.
“It is on Fuerteventura son here look,” he said as he handed Giles his phone.
Giles looked at the picture and then scrolled along the website, she had been right it did have camels you could ride on still how did she know unless she’d seen it on TV. Just then two doctors and a nurse came in to do some more tests, these Giles believed was a waste of time now. Bob went outside with him and they sat and waited for them to finish, ‘what’s the point of test for god’s sake she’ll be dead soon?’ Giles grunted to no one.
“It may help the next person who gets something like this, that’s how we progress son.”
Giles was now using his own phone to look at the zoo and wrinkled his brow, his dad knew what that meant and also knew he couldn’t help.
“Dad can I ask you for a loan? We’ve spent every penny we have and then some to try to save Emma?”
“Son me and your mum are as skint as you, all we have now is the house and I can’t sell that. Like you we have maxed out all our cards and loans, your mum has even sold her jewellery.”
“I know dad and thanks but I had to ask,” ‘I can raise about £200 but that’s it. Your uncle Jim will lend it to me I know, let me call him.’ Bob said as he walked out of the ward.
Giles sat staring at the picture on the phone and never noticed Tracy sit next to him, ‘sorry luv I just can’t take what’s happening as well as you. Giles I don’t mean that you care any less than me it’s just that you handle it better and you cope with stress when all I do is fall apart.’
“I know and just for the record I cry as well, she wants to go here.” Giles showed her the phone and repeated what Emma had told him and that his dad and mum was skint, but maybe able to raise £200. Tracy was scrolling the phone and then went on to some travel websites, the price of the cheapest holiday was well over what they had. Giles had in the past played rugby and had in his team a friend whose dad worked at Ryanair, he now wondered if he could get him a cheaper deal. Giles waited for Tracy to finish and go in to see Emma then went outside to make a call his dad was smoking and listened to his son’s side of the conversation.
“Steve its Giles, Giles Evans thanks she’s not doing well in fact that’s why I’m calling you. Steve I know I should have called but things have taken a turn for the worst and not wanting to go in to details mate, Emma has only weeks and she wants to go Fuerteventura to a zoo. The thing is mate we’re all done in here we spent every penny on her medication, no mate I’m not asking for money. Does your old man still work at Ryanair? I’ve got a couple of hundred but could use some cheap flights. You did say if I ever needed any to call, I know that was a fair few years ago but you did say. You’ll ask him thanks mate thanks and if I weren’t desperate I wouldn’t have asked. I’ll tell her and thanks again Steve, see yer.”
Bob hated to see his son beg and wished he had a way of getting more cash, turning Giles saw his dad and knew he’d heard him and walked away ashamed of himself. Bob caught up with him and put his arm over his shoulder, ‘son I would have done the same trust me you tried but don’t get your hopes up son.’
Both men went to see Emma and wait, now the head of Ryanair wasn’t known for his kind heart and freebee’s. He had heard Steve’s dad relaying the story of poor Emma and it hit a spot that no one knew he had. Not only did he give orders for three return flights to Fuerteventura he also paid for their hotel and a hire car and guaranteed that a row of seats would always be left free in case they had to return early.
Giles sat with Emma and the others cursing himself for being a bad dad, not that he was one but in his mind he was. He should have saved more cash for a rainy day instead of flash new cars and a big house, plus all the great places he had taken Tracy to. His phone vibrated in his pocket and as he didn’t feel like talking to anyone he gave to his dad to answer, he didn’t even look at who was calling.
Bob came in grinning from ear to ear as he put both hands on Giles’s shoulders while he sat looking at Emma, ‘get your passports your all off to the zoo. Steve’s dad has come up trumps and Ryanair are going to fund the whole trip, flights, hotel and car.’ Bob beamed as he said it. Emma clapped as did Giles and Tracy, only his mum stood still which instantly alerted Bob.
“What is it darling?” Bob asked.
“What if the doctors say no?” she replied feeling like someone who had just snatched a child’s Christmas present away from them.
“Best they don’t mum or I’ll kick off and then some,” unknown to the family Doctor Denis Baxter was outside and came in smiling.
“I think a trip abroad will help no end Mr Evans and it will not be a problem as Emma is at the moment in fair health, well at least healthy enough to fly.” He said as he ran his hand across Emma’s brow.
Giles called Steve on the way home and must have thanked him at least twenty times, it wasn’t until Tracy took his phone and ended the call that he stopped. With bags packed and passports in hand they entered Stanstead airport, his mum and dad were having Bobby while they were away. Emma was jumping up and down running from one shop to another, they brought her a few small things as they would need the remainder of there money for the few days they had. They had been booked in to the hotel Melia and on arrival they all loved its location, which was right on the beach. Emma had to go in the sea and while Tracy booked them in she and Giles went paddling, he chased her back up the beach to the hotel and dinner.
The next morning they took the car to the zoo, which both Giles and Tracy had to admit was far better than they would have imagined for a small island. Emma took the lead and weirdly knew where she was going, they went to the monkeys cages and then to a seal show. Sitting on the end Emma laughed as her dad was kissed by the seal that came around the audience, then she giggled as Tracy tried to avoid a kiss as well.
This was probably the best time any of them had, had for many years, with ice creams dripping they headed for the Giraffe enclosure. There had been a new part added recently and you could now walk to a fence and feed the Giraffe’s face to face, there was a large cue for this as you could imagine. Emma didn’t want to go there though, she wanted to go along the bottom and when they came to the right spot she stopped.
“Mummy this is where I kiss the Giraffe and get better, like I said to daddy.” She said in a cheerful manner, the problem was they knew different.
“There’s no Giraffe’s here dumpling there over there, come let’s cue up and feed them,” Giles said as gently as he could.
“Don’t be silly daddy this is the spot here, look he she comes.” Emma giggled pointing up.
Both parents looked up and stared at a huge Giraffe that was standing the other side of the tall fence, even though he was no expert Giles knew this was a very big animal. They both watched as the Giraffes long neck bent over the fence and its head came towards them. Tracy looked concerned while Giles shrugged his shoulders, her childish giggling stopped and Emma stroked the Giraffes head. Giles looked deep in to the Giraffes eyes and was amazed that they were a bright blue, then the beast kissed Emma on the lips. It was strange to watch a wild animal kiss a human, neither had ever seen anything like it and when it had done that it raised its head winked at Emma turned and left.
After that Emma wanted to go back to hotel saying she was really tired and Tracy was more than happy to do that, ‘was it me or was that weird?’ she said when they were alone. “Babe it was weird and did you notice the colour of its eyes? They were bright blue and according to this info on my phone, Giraffes don’t have blue eyes.”
The next morning Emma was not well and as the day progressed she got worse, they both blamed the flight and trip to the zoo and wished they’d never allowed it to happen. Giles called the number he’d been given and said they would be flying back to the UK today if possible, the voice said a flight was leaving the next morning. A doctor came and checked Emma not that he could do anything for her, they were up most of the night with Emma and was glad to board the plane the next day.
Back in the UK things went downhill fast and a new doctor arrived to see Emma, after a short examination he came outside to speak with Giles and Tracy. He sat opposite them and smiled softly it was clear to them that he’d done this before, then he took a note pad and pen and wrote something before returning it to his pocket.
“My name is Dr Justin Bedding-Hughes and I must first say how sorry I am for your daughter and her condition. What I am about to ask you will not be easy for you right now, but still I must ask.”
“There’s no way you’re getting your hands on her organs, never.” Giles said angrily.
“We do not want her organs Mr & Mrs Evans, we want her whole body for research. Emma is the only human that we know of to have this decease and we may be able to help many others in the future. I know it’s a big ask but think about it first, if another young girl like yours gets this again we may be able to cure them and others.”
Giles stood his big hands opening and shutting while his face reddened, his dad put himself between the two men. Tracy calmed Giles down and the sound of Emma moaning painfully made Giles and Tracy go to her, everyone except Bob and the Dr went in to Emma’s room. There was a moment of silence before Bob spoke, ‘Dr is Emma really the only person to get this rare form of cancer?’
“Yes Mr?” ‘Sorry Dr its Bob.’
“I have heard of another case many years ago and we are researching the man now, to be honest I do not hold out much hope of finding him.”
“Why is that Dr?”
“The case was back in the 1930s in Nigeria, Africa. The man is probably dead by now but we’ll keep looking, the cancer Emma has is so rare it may well hold the key to curing other cancers.”
“My son and his wife are good people Dr, just give them some space and I’ll speak to them later. I am sure they will see the benefits of your research, both are organ donners it’s just hard for them at this minute.”
“Thanks Bob, here is my card call me when you have spoken to them.”
With that he left and Bob went to be with the others, poor little Emma was dying fast now her vital signs were fading as they watched. Then the sound no one wanted hear filled the room, the single constant shrill of the monitor Emma was dead. Tracy ran from the room and Giles went after her while Bob and his wife walked slowly out with tears streaming down there face. All four meet outside and hugged for what seemed an age, then for the first time in his life Giles took a cigarette from his dad and put it in his mouth.
“Daddy why are you smoking, daddy.”
Every face spun around at the sound of the little girl’s voice, a small coloured girl was pointing at her father a few meters from them and he put the cigarette away. He picked her up spun her around and around while she screamed with delight, then they walked off.
Giles cried and cursed as he thought, ‘that should be me.’ The two sad parents turned to go back to the Emma’s room while Bob and his wife went home, they wanted to leave to see Bobby and would return later.
As Giles and Tracy walked very slowly towards Emma’s room they saw nurses and doctors rushing around, they took no notice it was a hospital after all and emergences were the norm. They became more concerned as they got closer and all the activity was coming from Emma’s room, a nurse looked up and beamed at them.
“She’s alive, she’s alive come and see.” The nurse called out.
Form that moment everything slowed down for Tracy and as Giles sprinted towards the room she stood motionless, it wasn’t until Giles entered the room that she moved. Tracy heard Giles cry out Emma’s name and was in the room in seconds and there sitting up in bed was Emma. She hugged her as well as Giles and tears flowed, doctors had to prize them apart to allow them to check Emma out. Bob and his wife who had returned upon hearing the news, Giles went home leaving Tracy there she wasn’t going to go home until Emma did.
Two weeks past before Emma was allowed home and as far as anyone could see she was perfectly normal, she was playing in garden with friends when the door bell rung. As Giles opened it Dr Justin Bedding-Hughes was standing there, ‘congratulations on the good news Mr Evans. May we talk I have something to tell you, its not bad news I think you have had more than your fair share of that lately.’
“Sure come in and thanks Emma’s doing very well, tea Dr and look I’m sorry for my outburst at the hospital.”
“And I am sorry I had to ask, but that’s how we find things out as bad as it may seem, anyway let’s talk. Did your father tell you I said there was another person in Africa who had been diagnosed with the same decease as Emma? Well against all the odds we found him, he is living in a village outside of Maiduguri in the north east of the country. I have a colleague there now and if we are lucky we can skype him, he would like to see Emma and ask her a few questions if that’s okay?”
Tracy was standing behind Giles and put her hands on his big shoulders, ‘I don’t see why not do you darling she’s hard to stop talking now.’
Giles went and called Emma while the Doctor set up his laptop, it took a moment and then he was calling someone. “Doctor Justin Bedding-Hughes how are you well I hope, Mr Noraboo is hear waiting with me.”
“Thank you Doctor Mines, I have Emma here as well give me a moment please.”
Giles lifted her up on to the chair and put two cushions under her as the Doctor turned the laptop to face them. On the screen was a very old looking black man and to Tracy he was at least two hundred years old or he looked that way to her. He looked very uncomfortable at talking to a screen, he wore a red coat and had a strange looking headdress. First he waved and Emma giggled and waved back then he spoke, his voice sound very old and his accent made it hard to understand him.
“My name is Farno and you are Emma, I had the same decease as you when I was a boy so they tell me. Mine was many years ago and every one said I would die, but I didn’t I was cured by Grettos.”
“That was my Giraffes name daddy, she was called Grettos she told so and did she kiss you as well?” Emma asked.
“Yes little lady she did, my mother was there and watched as she put her head through the window of our hut and kissed me. Then I died and came back again and from that moment on I have never been sick again. Although all my family was there only I and my mum saw her, everyone else said they saw nothing.”
Then the signal started to fade and the picture froze, seconds later the screen went blank and the doctor turned it back to face him. “How strange that they both had the same story and the Giraffe had the same name, one for the mystery file.”
“Look doctor we don’t know why or how it happened, but we are very glad it did and as soon as we can are going back to that zoo and see the Giraffe again.” Tracy said.
“Now that’s the conundrum Mrs Evans, you see I had the zoo send me the video of that day at the Giraffe pen. You said there was two Giraffes being fed and then another one that kissed Emma making three, is that correct?”
“Yeah that’s right, but ours had blue eyes and was much bigger than the others I’m sure of that.” Giles replied.
The doctor pushed a few buttons on his laptop and then turned it to face them, ‘here is the footage from that day.’
Emma went outside to play this was boring for her and all three adults stared at the screen, they watched as they came in to view at the feeding fence and the camera followed them. They saw themselves walk to the side and look up, then they saw Emma stroke and kiss an invisible Giraffe. Both of them looked at each other and back at the screen, ‘where’s the Giraffe gone? You can see her stroke and kiss it, is this a joke doc we were there and saw it for ourselves.” Giles said.
“Mr Noraboo said his mum and he could only see it and your Giraffe seems to have the same effect and we cannot explain it as there is no scientific reason for it, so we are not going to try. Well that’s it for me Mr Evans, time I left.”
The doctor packed up and left, he turned back as they both followed him to his Range Rover in their drive. “No scientific reason doc then what the hell was it that cured her?” Giles asked. The doctor smiled and lowered the car window down as he reversed out on to the road, he stopped and thought for a moment.
“It could have been the mind curing her as it had been convinced it would or some form of faith healing and illusion.” He said and put the car in to first gear before saying.
“Then again it could have just be magic.” And drove off.
Poor little Emma was a sickly child and had been since her birth, she been born with a very rare form of Sarcomas cancer. So rare was her condition that as far as any of the medical experts knew she was the only one. Emma was now six and her parents Giles and Tracy Evans were told, she had at best four weeks to live and nothing could change that. Of course they were very sorry and insisted they had tried every known thing to man and none had worked. She believed that she could be cured by a Giraffe's kiss, unfortunately she was the only one that believed that.